Lily Mountain makes a good also-ran, when you get a too-late start into the Park and can’t get a decent parking spot in the Bear Lake area!
We had planned on doing Glacier Gorge to Black Lake, but we realized that we were behind the eight ball with our 9am start when we got to the Beaver Meadows entrance and there was a double line of cars waiting to enter the Park. Not good!
We drove up to the Bear Lake area behind a long line of tourists, and nary a parking spot to be found. Rather than wait around behind others who were also waiting, we decided to head down to the Lily Lake area.
Lily Mountain has been on our map for a while, but every time we’ve driven past there has always been hordes of people so we’ve skipped it. Now that it’s off-season, plenty of parking options.
AllTrails lists the Lily Mountain hike a hard 3.7 miles and 1,246 feet of elevation gain, but luckily we’ve spent enough time at altitude in Colorado that we both found it pretty moderate. Some fun boulder scrambling at the peak, and you’re rewarded with 360 views – from the brown flatlands in the east, to snowcapped peaks to the north and west. Top it off with a commanding view of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker, with the high winds blowing spindrift clouds off the peaks – nice!
A quick hike along Lily Ridge and around Lily Lake makes for a perfect combination of water and mountains, and is very enjoyable when the tourist crowds are gone. Highly recommend both of these hikes, and tomorrow we’ll get an earlier start for Black Lake.

Archie

Archie
Stopping for a break under a picturesque pine arch.


Skinny Slabs

Skinny Slabs on Lily Mountain
Peeking over a skinny slab spine.


Top Of The World

Top Of The World on Lily Mountain
The top of the world, looking out at the snowcapped peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Lily Mountain Summit

Lily Mountain Summit
A nice break at the top of Lily Mountain.


Splash of Color

Splash of Color
Enjoying the sunlight and pine trees.


Lily Lake

Lily Lake
Looking down at Lily Lake with Long’s Peek, Mount Meeker, and Estes Cone in the background.


Edge of Time

Edge of Time
The Edge of Time climbing face on the south side of Lily Mountain. There is a climber in a peach sweatshirt in the lower right third of the photo.


Over The Lake

Lily Mountain Over Lily Lake
Lily Mountain sitting behind Lily Lake, with snow caps in the distance.